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seems punch and punch and squeezed drums are the word of the moment. I have never been a big fan of this tchnique but..
How do you guys do drums submix?
a) Use a multiband compressor, limiter thru a stereo representation of the whole key?
b) do you just sub kick snare and toms?
c) do you use parallel stacking? I mean, the natural drum tracks in parallel with a heavy compressed bus?
d)What re the problems shasll we meet at the final mstering stage? won't the things become a flat steak as if it were some sequeneced drums?

Oka, we can apply low ratios, higher tresholds, etc.
I myself do not like the sound of hihats and loud overheads inside the drums submix.

Wanna hear your opinions


anonymous Wed, 03/19/2003 - 05:38

Hi Alecio,

When you say "sub mix" I'm not sure what you mean. Are you multi-tracking the drums? Please explain so maybe I can help you. In my opinion too much compression can kill the dynamics of a otherwise great mix. It also makes the mastering job much harder to work with. Feel free to PM me in private if you wish.

Cheers, :c:

anonymous Wed, 03/19/2003 - 08:46

Often I'll throw a "sub mix" into and/or over on multi-track .. some ways are:
1. The whole set in whatever mix is going to L/R out
2. Then take the kick to a 2 track bus and combine them in mono, do the same for the top and/or bottom snare to yet 2 more buses
3. Toms can go to a third set of buses, but in "stereo"
4. Room mic and/or Overheads to 4th stereo bus.

You can also have fun doing the drill where you compress the bus you sent the kick to, and thow that to one or two open tracks, and compress again.. watch levels, and EQ at the final spot not before.

These sub mix ideas can be used to taste and purpose as needed .. even using efects in one, etc...

Nate Tschetter Wed, 03/19/2003 - 09:04

Hi Alecio

I've been doing what K-Sound said. Using multiple buses for:

1. Overall Kit (OH)

2. Kick + Snare Bus

3. Tom Bus

Buses 2 and 3 can be heavily compressed and or limitied. Then sneak them back into the mix as necessary.

With Toms, I sometimes mult them, run the original into bus 1 normally with no dynamic processing and a gated version into bus 3. I do this 'cos sometimes the Tom mics add a lot of fatness to the drums but they ring sympathetically with the kick or snare. Compressing and limiting only makes this more of a problem. So, keeping the normal version in bus 1 maintains fatness.

anonymous Wed, 03/19/2003 - 12:56


Sub Mix? Like in a second console? When you say "heavy compression" how much do yall consider to be heavy. 6/1, -15 to -20 dB? I agree with Kevin that too much compression will kill a mix. Dynamics are what makes a mix sound good. A little compression is fine on the overall mix and inserted on certain things but too much and the mix will become boxy.


RMS (Chris)

Alécio Costa Wed, 03/19/2003 - 17:49

Thanks Kevin, thanks to othe other friends too!
In fact I was thinking of making a drums stereo bus and insert some multiband compressors like TC MAster X, C4 or even some stuff from MC DSP like the Vintage Warmer.
I am looking for a huge snare drum, lots of gate reverb, rooms, like the snare of the hard rock Group Bonham from the album Mad hatter.
should I keep the drums over heads o the kick/snare multiband compressed bus? maybe a parallel arrangement with the discrete tracks with very little compression + the heavily compressed stereo submix?
I use PT 5.1.1 TDM with 2 adat bridges lightpiped to an02R V2.

Also, about this mix bus distortion inside PT mix... lack os stero image...
That is why I continue semi-direct outed to my 02R and combine plugins and outboard gear, best of both worlds.
Hope to hear ya

anonymous Thu, 03/20/2003 - 07:55

I agree about having an "open sound" on any set and not gating ... as for compression, I think too many think of it as a cure, although it certainly will be used in the digital signal chain more than the analog. We very rarely hit compression on more than a couple of tracks when we used 2" Tape.
The key,of course, is not to loose dynamics ...
Ask Bill Roberts if the CD of OSP (Original Soul Project) was lacking dynamics, or showed heavy compression.... Bill??!
The double or triple compression route is an old trick, but can very easily go to crap if you're not watching the signal chain levels .. it's worth a try as an experiment for signal chain insight though.
Also, the sub mix I use (sometimes) on drums, will be mostly for the light drummers who want to sound big ... it won't make them big, but it could possibly help a bit with the "oomph factor"
in the denser mixes.

Alécio Costa Thu, 03/20/2003 - 11:12

K-sound, you really got my point. Whern my tech assistant sat in the drums and played a few bars, the sound was huge, not needing too much gain and so..
When my client´s drummer sat there, the thing sounded like shit. I was all the time telling him via headphones, more power , hit stronger on the kick/snare, try to go easier with the hi-hats!!

anonymous Fri, 03/21/2003 - 07:22

AC .. the issue of great drums and bass is very much the player's responsibility. This means that I'm thinking the engineer has the ability to place good mics in the right places.

Being a drummer since '64, power was an issue back then if you wanted to be heard, as was having some huge amp. Times have changed, but the job remains the same for the drummer .... the drummer MUST be able to be flawless at being consistant with his attack and dynamics.
I'll often try to descibe this to drummers this way:
1. Place yourself behind a camera and mic recording you, when you're hitting them hard enough (rock) the camera records you, when you don't it blinks and gets fuzzy at best. If this were on TV, you'd change the channel.

2. In recording, playing the "soft parts" where it's just say, a bass and drum, or drum alone .. keep the hits just as hard.. again remembering that the guys in the back row of the house won't hear you if you don't.

3. Jazz guys will have a bit better handle on consistant dynamics, due to the instruments they play with.

4. Keeping the kick and snare at EXACTLY the attack level will do more for your sound and the drive of the tune than any console and compressor. Lay into the top toms a bit harder than normal. The top toms are close to the snare (duh) and therefore getting a close mic'd set even in that area will really pay off. Again, our ears and brain sense this, but a close group of directional mics are like crash dummies.

5. Lastly, if you want to hear cymbal beats don't be crashing around and expect the mics to get smart and figure it out .. learn to alter the cymbal attack by thinking of each hit as quick and being pulled even quicker off the cymbal .. beautiful deffinition results.

Nate Tschetter Fri, 03/21/2003 - 07:30


I agree that dynamics are better. It just seemed that Alecio was asking how to get that big, compressed sound whether he liked it or not.

Actually, I prefer as few mics as possible on the drums. Everything sounds a lot clearer to me than with a lot of close mics. Due to fewer issues with polarity, I imagine.

K-Sound and Alecio hit it spot on though, a good drummer really _hitting_ a good kit makes all the difference. If it sounds good in the room, it should sound good on tape.

anonymous Sat, 03/22/2003 - 07:02

One thing you can do to get a fat sound is to eavily compress the room mics (or your OH, or reverb), Fast attack but slower release(up to 1 sec).
You then have to put the kick (and snare if you like the effect) in sidechain to trigger the compressor, so that the cymbals and reverb have a longer, unnatural sustain. If you adjust the release carfully you will find the right timing for the song, pumping the compressor to give a fat, surnatural effect.

you love it or you don't...

anonymous Tue, 03/25/2003 - 11:57

Nate is correct, less is more .. the problem is that very few drummers know what to do in the studio that makes that possible, so the engineer get's the bullet, and back to the original issue of compression to solve that .. in that case I try to build the kit sound around the strongest and most consistant part of that drummer, be it the kick, snare, toms .. and then go backwards to getting the rest of the kit up closer to that with compression, so that I can bring the entire kit in and up with some consistant drive .. chances are the drummer will be consistantly week or strong throughout the session on given parts of the kit, and that mics alone will not bring in enough to make up the week parts. So age old, find the loudest hit on the weekest drum, set threshold to that, ratio to threshold that allows you to boost output, and see what you're left with.

Alécio Costa Thu, 04/03/2003 - 12:12

the problem is related mostly with latency, delay that each individual plugin adds to the track in question. For example, TC Master X5 band mode, TDM,with a look ahead of 10ms can provide ya over 1k delayed samples. Q4 in RTAS mode just adds 1 sample delay..

Sometimes when I double mike a snare, besides phase issue, as I add plugins I do need to reevaluate the phase so as to avoid weird comb filtering and so.

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